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ST JOHN’S CATHEDRAL AND THE ANZAC LEGEND

As we prepare to commemorate the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War – the so-called ‘war to end all wars’ – our Cathedral is about to debut a comprehensive guide to some of the range of priceless artefacts which have been entrusted to our safekeeping in memory of ‘the Anzac Legend’ and the sacrifices made by ordinary Australians throughout the past 100 years.

Thanks to the support of the Queensland Government, together with the resources of the State Library of Queensland and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, this insightful, evocative, emotionally-powerful and moving book is scheduled to be officially launched – in both print and digital formats – by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, at 7.00pm on Wednesday 19th December 2018.

A very special program – including for children – is planned for the launch, and everyone is most welcome to come along on the night!

Members of the Cathedral community, the general public, and all families and friends are cordially invited to join us for the official launch of a new book on the war memorials housed in St John’s Cathedral.

St John’s contains one of Queensland’s more notable collections of memorials to the First and Second World Wars and other conflicts in which the Australian Defence Force has been engaged. The book was created principally for Queensland secondary school students as well as for a wider readership.

The book was written by Cathedral parishioner and historian Denzil Scrivens, as a labour of love. In researching the history of the Cathedral building itself in 2016, Denzil discovered an old newspaper article that solved the mystery of the ANZAC-emblazoned flag hanging in the South Transept. Over the years the story of the flag had been lost, and the article revealed that the flag was the very last flag flown at the evacuation of the Anzacs from Gallipoli on 19th December 1915. This marks St John’s Gallipoli flag as a war relic of national significance.

The flag had been carried at Anzac Cove, under enemy fire, on the last day of the evacuation by an army padre from Brisbane, the Rev’d Alexander Maxwell, who gifted it to the Cathedral in a ceremony on Anzac Day, 1929. Inspired, Denzil began to research the history of the other memorials installed in the Cathedral. He has created a book that speaks not only to the memorials, but to the stories behind them and testimonials to the meaning and cost of war.

Beautifully designed, and illustrated with photographs from the Australian War Memorial, the Imperial War Museum London, and from local photographers including Aimee Catt, the book’s canvas includes memorials which commemorate, among others:
• the Anzac campaigns at Gallipoli, Palestine and the Western Front during the First World War;
• the Battles of Britain and El Alamein, and the gruelling campaign in Papua and New Guinea, during the Second World War;
• the peacetime HMAS Voyager disaster of 1964;
• the Vietnam War;
• the Cathedral’s regimental Colours including those of 9 RQR and 6 RAR.

The experience of civilians in war is also recognised, particularly that of nurses in the First World War and women on the home front in Brisbane during the Second World War. To be able to launch the book on 19th December 2018, 103 years to the day since the Gallipoli evacuation, and the day the Cathedral’s Gallipoli flag was last flown in that theatre, is especially poignant.



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